Consumer Reports says do not buy Apple’s new MacBook Pro, citing erratic battery life

“Apple launched a new series of MacBook Pro laptops this fall, and Consumer Reports’ labs have just finished evaluating them. The laptops did very well in measures of display quality and performance, but in terms of battery life, we found that the models varied dramatically from one trial to another,” Jerry Beilinson writes for Consumer Reports. “As a result, these laptops are the first MacBooks not to receive recommended ratings from Consumer Reports.”

“The MacBook Pro battery life results were highly inconsistent from one trial to the next,” Beilinson writes. “For instance, in a series of three consecutive tests, the 13-inch model with the Touch Bar ran for 16 hours in the first trial, 12.75 hours in the second, and just 3.75 hours in the third. The 13-inch model without the Touch Bar worked for 19.5 hours in one trial but only 4.5 hours in the next. And the numbers for the 15-inch laptop ranged from 18.5 down to 8 hours. Those were just a few of the results; we tested battery life on these laptops repeatedly.”

“For the battery test, we download a series of 10 web pages sequentially, starting with the battery fully charged, and ending when the laptop shuts down,” Beilinson writes. “The web pages are stored on a server in our lab, and transmitted over a WiFi network set up specifically for this purpose. We conduct our battery tests using the computer’s default browser—Safari, in the case of the MacBook Pro laptops… Once our official testing was done, we experimented by conducting the same battery tests using a Chrome browser, rather than Safari. For this exercise, we ran two trials on each of the laptops, and found battery life to be consistently high on all six runs.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s the software, stupid*. Not Apple’s hardware.

Luckily for Apple, Geritol has younger demographics than Consumer Reports.

Unluckily for Apple, they fired Scott Forstall and promoted the funny guy with the big hair who’s either stretched too thin or incompetent or both. The quality of Apple’s software since Forstall was moved out by Tim Cook is inferior versus the software quality under Forstall.

Yes, Forstall may have been regarded as a royal asshole by some, but so was Steve Jobs by those who couldn’t consistently perform at a high level.

Yes, we’d rather have faux leather and stitching throughout our UI in exchange for Apple’s old level of quality and usability.

*Safari, specifically and/or CR‘s testing software.

SEE ALSO:
Explaining the battery life problems with the new MacBook Pros – December 16, 2016
Users of Apple’s new MacBook Pro report improved battery life with macOS 10.12.2 – December 15, 2016
Apple ‘fixes’ MacBook Pro battery life issue by removing the ‘time remaining’ clock – December 14, 2016

30 Comments

    1. Do you personally have the new MacBook? Did you do any of the testing like consumer reports did? How would you know unless you personally have one and or experiencing we’re not experiencing the issue? If you have one and you’re not experiencing the issue and just say that. I was in the Apple Store last weekend and there were two people bitching about it to the employees. Very upset as a matter of fact. It sounded like the two of those folks gad legitimate concerns

    2. Well, since they always given recommended ratings to Apple laptops before these, I’d say the fault lies not on CR, but in Apple. I don’t care if it’s hardware or software. And frankly, only Apple knows that for sure. Apple has had other battery issues in the past. Sometimes it’s software, but sometimes it’s a bad batch of batteries. Doesn’t matter to me which it is. It’s a no-sale until they can fix it. If I wanted to beta test hardware, I’d buy something from Google.

  1. The Apple glory days are gone. Jobs was concerned about quality when he was around. Now, the company is more concerned about their UFO campus and Apple hubris is killing them. In about a decade, they will be another Compaq, but they will look cool going down.

    It’s all about how cool they are. Fashion over function. Never mind if nothing works right or if updates brick your products.

      1. Of course Steve had problems, but when they popped up, he was furious and heads rolled.

        With Cook, he doesn’t seem to mind the low quality junk he’s putting out. In fact, if the update doesn’t freeze your Apple product, he’s probably disappointed.

    1. Umm. Yeah. Selective memory is great, isn’t it? There were tons of issues with Apple products when Steve was around, both software and hardware.

      It is normal to have problems with new products, software bugs and manufacturing defects.

      And I’d also point out to you that the new campus was Steve’s baby.

      1. Steve came in when the company was dying. He himself brought it back to life.

        Apple now has zillions in the bank, so what’s the excuse for not putting out quality products? No money to hire QA engineers and testers?

      2. Yes, I had several lousy laptop adapters back in the iBook era. We had a 17″ MacBook Pro with a battery that would bulge. The two subsequent replacement batteries also had that bulge. Steve was also to blame for the lousy design of the puck mouse and the unreliability of the Cube. There are plenty of Apple flops and mistakes on Steve’s watch too. People just don’t like to think about it.

  2. Not included in your article summary: Using Chrome instead of Safari gave CR consistently good battery results. For those of us who prefer Chrome/Mac over Safari, this is pretty good news – particularly since Chrome has, in the past, had a reputation as a power hog on the Mac.

    1. If the Safari browser is causing issues with the battery isn’t there something wrong. Doesn’t change the fact that Apple just isn’t focusing on their products like they did it one time.

    1. But there is certain credibility in the Consumer Report test as there are users complaining about the inconsistency in the battery life from their new MBP. Most of those users can’t be biased too as they are paying for a new Apple product.

    2. Apple did have a design flaw with their antenna. Apple lost credibility when they told people they were holding it wrong. They had to fix it by putting a piece of rubber around it. That was bad engineering, not bad reviewing.

  3. I have a 13″ tMBP and am experiencing sh*tty battery life first-hand. I get beteeen 4-6 hours. And no, the latest software didn’t fix the issue

    Criticizing Consumer Reports (which has always previously highly recommended Apple netbooks) is ridiculous.

    Apple simply isn’t the stellar company it once was. And I say this as a total fanboy.

  4. I don’t know guys… I’m a sick fanboy, but I agree with their opinion….

    my new touchbar 15″ has terrible battery life…. not acceptable…..

    How about 4 hours just surfing the web?

    The % leaks out right before my eyes….

  5. Ahh, now we get some love for Forstall. Finally!

    Should have seen this board when the people were stirred up into a frenzy to sack Forstall. Pitchforks and torches were in full Dracula hunting mode I remember.

    Steve said Forstall and Ive, together. What part of that didn’t Timmy (the compaq guy) understand? Yeah, Ive and Forstall may be like two North Poles of a magnet. But that is why Tim was needed. Instead, Tim prefers to continually apologize for one thing or another.

    What is Forstall up to these days I wonder other than that theatre play stuff……god forbid he starts working at Microsoft….

    1. I’d like to see Scott Forstall back. He’s a great creator with an important perspective. He was a balance to Jony Ive’s perspective.

      But:
      • Scott pulled some immature moves at Apple.
      • Scott didn’t stop Apple Maps from being a POS.
      • Scott required some time away (echoes of Steve Jobs) to do some personal maturation.

      Meanwhile:

      Note that Scott was NOT the sole factor causing Apple Maps to suck. (Go read about it at Wikipedia).

      Note that Scott was not simply ‘sacked’. He continued working with Apple, apparently directly with Tim Cook, for some months after the ‘incident’. (Go read about it at Wikipedia).

      Not a simple subject.

  6. The more I think about this testing at CR and the results, the more I realize This Isn’t Science. This is simply Lame Testing.

    I’d honestly like to know if the new MBPs have battery problems. I already know Safari has problems. So:

    Q: Why didn’t CR provide clear comparisons of the Chrome vs Safari results? Clearly, their Safari testing does NOT match their Chrome testing. RED FLAG!

    Q: Why didn’t CR conduct further tests that didn’t involve their web page download setup? One test method? Just one test method?

    Q: Since when does a web browser’s use of battery resources equal the quality of a computer’s battery? It DOESN’T by default! Try again.

    Further testing and analysis are required Consumer Reports! Until then, this is just another example of your laziness and lack of devotion to your manifesto, serving the consumer. Sad. 😛

    1. You try again. Battery use IS a combination of the battery design and manufacturing quality, power management hardware, power management software, and the other software running on the computer. Clearly, Apple has screwed up process for normal computer usage. Apple itself advertises the laptop as having “Up to 10 hours wireless web”. They keywords are apparently “up to”. Fact is they got 4 hours on many tests. That’s not acceptable for a new device because the product will age and the battery life will grow even shorter. It’s absolutely fair and proper for Consumer Reports to downgrade this product for failing to deliver on promised battery life, no matter if the problem is software or hardware. It isn’t CR’s job to figure out the cause. It is its job to put the laptops through consistent testing that represents ordinary use. It’s what apple claims to do in its testing. But it looks like Apple failed to discover the problem in testing. Hell, they are denying it.

      1. Fact is they got 4 hours on many tests.

        The problem with Consumer Reports is that Apple got 4 hours on THE SAME TEST over and over again. CR ignored the Scientific Method and overtly blasted their results to be relevant well beyond what they actually, literally tested. You apparently fell for it. Go read the scientific method again and again please. You can’t define the system you’re testing as being OUTSIDE OF the system you’re testing. That’s called ‘bullshit’.

        As for your understanding of battery systems, you probably know them better than I do.

  7. “Philip Schiller ‏@pschiller 9h9 hours ago
    Working with CR to understand their battery tests. Results do not match our extensive lab tests or field data.” Twitter

    Don’t jump the gun and stop whining.

  8. I bought the Mac Book Pro 13″ with the touch bar and it has terrible battery life even after the latest software upgrade? Ten hours? I’m lucky if I get four–and that’s with writing or simply recording a podcast in GarageBand. No heavy duty work like film. Love the computer but the battery issue is serious.

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